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Woman sues Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office after her newborn died inside the Milwaukee County Jail

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MILWAUKEE -- A woman is suing the Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office in an $8.5 million lawsuit -- alleging mistreatment that resulted in the death of her newborn in the Milwaukee County Jail.

Shade Swayzer

Shade Swayzer

Her attorney told FOX6 News his client, 30-year-old Shade Swayzer was arrested on July 6th, when she was eight-and-a-half months pregnant. She was taken into custody after an altercation with police, and prior to being booked into jail, she was taken to a hospital for an examination.

Her attorney claims her pregnancy was progressing normally at the time.

Despite the pregnancy and a diagnosis of severe mental illness, she was placed in the maximum security unit, also known as the special needs unit at the jail.

She alleges she was given prenatal vitamins only once, and for days received no medical attention.

Milwaukee County Jail

Milwaukee County Jail

Milwaukee County Jail

Milwaukee County Jail

Swayzer alleges on July 14th, she went into labor, and she says when she tried to alert guards that her water broke, she was "laughed at."

She went into labor inside her cell.

Milwaukee County Jail

Milwaukee County Jail

Swayzer alleges her child was alive long enough for her to breast feed, but later, the baby died.

She claims guards checked in on her six hours after she gave birth.

Jason Jankowski

Jason Jankowski

"She's very depressed. She's distraught. I've never seen anybody break down that emotionally as she went through the story," Jason Jankowski, Swayzer's attorney said.

The medical examiner conducted an autopsy, but hasn't disclosed whether the baby was alive or stillborn at the time of birth.

"I take this very seriously. I judged her credibility from day one and I find her to be credible," Jankowski said.

Milwaukee County Jail

Milwaukee County Jail

FOX6 News has reached out to the Sheriff's Office for comment on this story. We have yet to hear back.

The corporation counsel office told FOX6 News they have a copy of the claim.

3 comments

  • Tall Milwaukeean

    And this is why Sherrif Clarke is unfit for public service. 4th person to die under his watch in the last 8 months. This man (and I say that losely) is a monster.

  • Common sense

    This just blows my mind. She is pregnant and “has severe mental illness”. Why was she even in jail in the first place?
    If she was taken to the hospital didn’t any of the highly educated and trained staff and Doctors notice that she is not normal and that the Milwaukee County jail might not be the best place for her?
    She was placed in the “maximum security unit, also known as the special needs unit” So maximum security is for “special needs”? What did she receive there that was so special?

    The Department of Corrections is a JOKE and mismanaged. I guess we have Sheriff David Clarke to blame for that.
    There is no “corrections” or any form of treatment in jail. Once you are booked you sit in a “pod” with a hundred other inmates and do NOTHING but watch TV and tell tall tales and share your criminal experience with the others.

    Why wouldn’t they have called a Doctor or 911 for an ambulance? They MUST have known she was 8 1/2 months pregnant. Why would the county want to “babysit” her and be responsible for her and her expected child?

    She obviously is not qualified to be a parent which is the silver lining. However now once again the Milwaukee taxpayers are on the receiving end of another lawsuit because of Sheriff David Clarke. Thanks Dave

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